The ridge-to-reef approach on Cicia Island, Fiji

Ambio. 2022 Dec;51(12):2376-2388. doi: 10.1007/s13280-021-01669-w. Epub 2022 Jan 11.


Many Pacific countries and territories embrace an officially recognized 'ridge-to-reef' approach to environmental management. This is the case of Fiji, where the Lau Seascape Strategy 2018-2030, led by Conservation International, aims for integrated natural resource management across 335 895 km2. This area includes Cicia Island, which deserves particular attention since, years before the design of the Lau Seascape Strategy, its population developed its own informal ridge-to-reef scheme, involving a combination of certified organic agriculture and locally managed marine closures. Based on 1 month of ethnographic fieldwork, this paper presents this scheme and highlights local perception and conceptualization of its positive effects on both the land and the sea. These reflect the iTaukei (Indigenous Fijian) concept of vanua, which intrinsically connects the health of the land, the sea, and their (human and non-human) dwellers, while stressing the importance of addressing land-sea processes and management efforts beyond an ecological perspective, i.e. through an engagement with the iTaukei relational ontology.

Keywords: Environmental anthropology; Fiji; Integrated land-sea management; Marine protected areas; Organic agriculture; South Pacific.

MeSH terms

  • Conservation of Natural Resources*
  • Fiji